Reggie’s Pricing is Too Damn High

Recently Reopened Student Bar Drains Wallets

Graphic Madeleine Gendreau

I have worked a fair number of service level jobs, so it is rare that you would find me complaining about a bar’s prices, menu or overall customer service.

I have been to dive bars and fancy bars, and always keep in mind that regardless of what I believe to be a fair fee, a bar is a bar and we are all just trying to get drunk, and this being the case not much can be done to change it.

But Reggie’s bar is my exception, mostly because it is student money that went into it being reimagined and ultimately, reopened. What surprised me most when walking into the new space on opening night was the incompatibility our new campus joint has with the general realities of student life and budgets. It was more than disappointing—it was laughable.

Contrary to the overall opinion I heard echoing around the bar on the first night, I found the “bougie” decor, cheap plastic panelling and open concept of the new Reggie’s appealing. It was a fresh and crisp look that although didn’t convey a community or campus appearance, still served as inviting and in some ways had me believing my school was finally as prestigious as McGill.

Regardless of the fancy renovations, I certainly didn’t expect that I would be digging deep in my pockets to fund a few evening drinks with my colleagues—but quickly learned that Reggie’s wouldn’t be my frequent watering hole. At first I couldn’t figure out why everyone in the bar was drinking Pabst, until I looked at the drink prices and discovered it was the cheapest thing you could buy—and even then, for 5 à 7, it wasn’t cheap.

Regardless, I stayed and socialized with the many familiar faces who had found themselves guzzling down alcohol and testing out the new space. It wasn’t an hour or so into the night that we all agreed we were hungry, with the unavoidable and open window kitchen who wouldn’t be?

The cooks appeared busier than usual, despite the fact only two or three people in the entire bar were eating. We glanced at the food menu and agreed we’d have to finish what was in our glasses and go on a food run, the price for even a burger was astonishing, and their $6 menu consisted of individual portions, not nearly enough to share with friends—never mind that only after three hours in business, I had already been warned against the nachos.

Despite the unimpressive first experience, I returned to Reggie’s again this past week. Like before, our group ordered cheap beer while I opted for a vodka-cran double in a tall glass—it had been a long day.

It is a pretty easy drink to make: less juice, more vodka, skinny glass. The bartender served me less than five minutes after order, I paid and returned to the table. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in Vodka or anything, but I’m Irish—and for the most part I know when I am drinking juice or when I am drinking alcohol.

So it came without surprise that the many thoughts ran through my mind: Why on earth did I just pay $7 for a glass of cranberry juice? Did the bartender think I had a UTI? Was this a trick? Maybe I have built a tolerance to the taste of vodka? I passed the drink around to my friends, who all concurred there was no or very little alcohol in this supposed alcoholic beverage. At which point, I did what I have never done before, and requested a new drink.

Obviously, I was refused. I was informed that the drink had less ice cubes and thus, a more juicy taste, then I was informed because I ordered a tall glass there was a different amount of juice, then I was offered more vodka for an additional $5. At no point did the manager or bartender offer to remake the drink. I returned to my table and finished my cranberry juice, sullenly.

The bar was more than unimpressive, it was disorganized, unprofessional and extremely over-priced. It is hardly ever full, and the usual patrons are those who just got their student loan cheques in and sometimes professor’s having a glass of $8 wine on a Wednesday with that tenured salary.

I haven’t tasted the food, because I can’t justify paying $15 for a burger when Gourmet Burger will coal-cook me one for $6 a block away. As for concerns that the new Reggie’s would turn into a bro-frosh hangout for predatory mansplainers, not an issue, because even the fuqbois on campus aren’t dumb enough to pay nearly $4 for piss-tasting beer and bad lighting.

Reggie’s may have gone through space renovations, but their food prices and drink prices need some serious reconsideration—their overall attitude needs to be student geared, which is frustrating to even have to say, since it is supposed to be student run. I am not sure of the future of Reggie’s, but I can’t anticipate it being open for long and garnering any actual student money.

The only good thing about the place is how appropriate it would be for an association’s wine and cheese, that is if the Arts and Science Federation of Associations doesn’t run another deficit and can shovel out enough cash to grab the interest of the bar itself. Until then, I forfeit the war to dominate Reggie’s with leftist agendas, no working class students have the cash flow to occupy such an already inaccessible establishment.